Friday, September 28, 2007

Almost a US Citizen

Sorry to all our family and friends, but no pictures today. Plus this will be our last post until we reach Indy on 9/30.

It was a rough day for Josh. He hasn't slept much in the last two days, nor have Matt and I, and he isn't eating very well either. He does have 3 1/2 teeth now. His new tooth is half-way out now. He was really cranky and crying a lot today. The only thing that seemed to not make him cry was riding the stroller, so we went for several short walks today. Let's hope that he is better tomorrow.

The big news of day is we had our US Consulate appoint today. All the paperwork was in order so we had to go the swearing ceremony. Basically, all the adopting families in the room stood up and repeated the swearing statement. We swore that we are who we say we are and that all the information provided to the US government was truthful and accurate. It seemed very unceremonious for such a long wait. Plus, in the post 9/11 world no cameras were allowed in the consulate, therefore no pictures. Now that everything is done, once we pass through immigration in LAX Josh will be an American citizen. YEAH!!!

Tomorrow at 9pm, China time, we will leave Guangzhou and begin our trek home. We will arrive in Indy at 9am on 9/30. It will take us about 24 hours to get back home. We are all pretty nervous about how Josh will do traveling for such a long time. We are all praying that things go well.

See everyone back in Indy. It's been an amazing journey, but we are ready to come home.

Love to all, Matt, Jenny and Josh

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Red Couch Day!

It's a tradition for all the babies to have their picture taken on the red couch here at the hotel.

This has been our guide, Michael, from our agency. We haven't had to lift a finger this trip because of him.

Matt being silly with one of the many statues on the island.

Tomorrow we go to the American consulate to take an oath. No cameras are allowed so there won't be any pictures. Tomorrow will be our last post before we leave. It's been a fantastic trip and everyone we met has been very nice, but we are ready to come home. The moment the plane touches the ground at LAX Josh will be an American citizen.
Until tomorrow,
M, J, J

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

WOW! Three Posts Today!

Josh tidbits
Just a quick list of things he's eaten this week:
Congee, mashed potatoes, scalloped potatoes, pizza crust
pepperoni, any bread, bananas, french toast, cheerios
spaghetti noodles, broccoli, eggs


It's like eating with a dog at your feet. He always wants to try what we're having and does his best baby bird impression when it's headed his way. He's learned the sound of his bottle being shaken and will do everything he can to get to whoever is shaking it. He's also learning to pick up food and put it in his mouth on his own.

He's learning his name

He has three teeth and one more breaking out today.

He is famous because everyone thinks he has adjusted so well.

He has to be into everything. If its within reach, he's after it. If it's out of reach, he goes and gets it. His new thing is pulling himself up to see whats on the nightstand or bed to see what he can reach. So we put things he can have up there.

He absolutely LOVES bath time

He's a big flirt - with women of all ages

He loves to be lifted high and dipped low

He hates to have his clothes changed because it requires him to be held still

He will cry in his sleep a couple times a night but can usually be soothed quiet again

that's all for now,


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Josh's Blessing

Last night was our dinner river cruise on the Pearl River. It was also the Mid-Autumn or Moon Festival. There were lots of people out and about. The food was not that great, but it was really neat to see all the buildings light up like Vegas.

Not only were the buildings light, but so were all the boats on the river. Each one was different.

This is our hotel, The White Swan, from the river at night.

The next morning we went to the Temple of the Six Banyans. There the babies were blessed by a Buddhist monk. We had to take our shoes off, no pictures allowed and make an offering. It was very special. Then Matt, Josh and Jenny climbed to the top of the pagoda. Each floor was shorter than the next making climbing the stairs difficult for Matt.

We're not sure what were doing tonight, but right now both the boys are taking a nap. Keep checking back for the latest. Tomorrow is the infamous "Red Couch" picture day. There should be some good pictures from that.

Love to all, Matt, Jenny and Josh

The Missing Pics From Yesterday

We love to walk with our squeekers!

Pearl River at night

Look what we parked next to at the garden! Nobody was around to talk to, though.

Yuntai Garden

Looking down the street outside our hotel.

Picture Problems

Sorry, but pictures aren't uploading to the blog for some reason tonight. We'll try again tomorrow.

We bought some squeeky shoes for Josh yesterday and he loves them! He wants to try walking all the time now just so he can listen to them.

We went walking around a marketplace last night and found some interesting stuff. One shop was full of wines. Not just ordinary wines - but cobra, ant, and scorpion wines. Five gallon bottles full of something fermenting with actual critters pickled in there with it. Tequila with the worm in it no longer impresses me.

This morning we went to a large garden. It was probably the neatest park we've been to yet. The landscaping and upkeep is tremendous. We have pictures, but it looks like you'll have to wait.

Tonight we went on a river cruise for the Moon Festival. It's considered the second largest holiday, after New Years, during which families reunite, have feasts, and gaze upon the full moon. There were tons of people out along the river's edge to look at the moon. The cruise was neat, the food was bad.

Tomorrow we're going to a temple and Josh will receive a Buddhist blessing from monks who still reside there. Should be fun.

We'll try to get pics up tomorrow,

M,J, &J

P.S. we haven't had any countdown updates, mom

Monday, September 24, 2007

Easy Goin' Days

It's been pretty smooth sailing here on the island. Routines are setting in. Josh wakes up around 7am then we go for breakfast. At 9am the group will do a tour till about noon. Nap time from 1-4 then we have the rest of the evening to do whatever we want. 8p and Josh is ready for bed. Shopping on the island is fun. There is some really neat stuff and it's quite inexpensive. Last night we found a place that sold Christmas stockings which the guy said we could pick any fabric and he would make one with "Joshua" on the front and his Chinese name on back in calligraphy, hand stitched. Total cost: $25 us dollars. Yea, we ordered one. It will take a day for it to be ready.

This was our breakfast table this morning. Rough, we know.

A group of ladies line dancing for exercise this morning

We had to take the babies to a local hospital for a physical exam this morning. It really was no big deal but they all have to have it. He really does weigh 22lbs. He's not the biggest in our group as there is a 24 pound chunk with us. Josh really didn't fuss through the whole thing except when she put the tongue depressor in his mouth. He really hates having things forced in his mouth like a toothbrush.

We got there just in time as lots of families showed up right after us.
This is a picture of James. He stopped us to practice his English. He wanted to talk about basketball because that is his favorite sport. He spoke English very well.

Just down the street from our hotel is a market/restaurant that sells many interesting things. Many of the items are kept alive just until serving. As you might have guessed we did not eat there.

The picture above is silk worms and the picture below is of very large water beetles.
Yum! Yum!

This is large container of eels, but there were also turtles, frogs, shellfish, snakes, and some other unidentifiable things.

At the moment Josh is napping or should I say just waking up grumpy because he has a wet diaper. The the five of us are going to go to a street market this afternoon. We'll try and post some more pictures later.

Love, Matt, Jenny, and Josh

Sunday, September 23, 2007

More Quick Pics

The White Swan Hotel

Chen Family Temple

Future roller-coaster rider
This is the "take me Home" Barbie. Only guests who stay at the White Swan receive them.

We'll post again in a little bit.

M, J, & J

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Final Stop

We're in Guangzhou! Sorry there aren't any pics today but it was another long day. We were out of the hotel at 6:00 am and I made a couple give me their baggage because the husband had food poisoning the night before. (Thank goodness that Matt is always calm and cool because his wife was really struggling this morning. Always that knight in shining armor.) We got to security 30 minutes before departure and all the security lanes were packed. Our guide went and talked to some people and they ended up opening another lane just for us. It still took a while to get us all through so I ended up almost at a run with several pieces of carry-on luggage thrown over my shoulders.

Mid-flight, Josh started to get a little cranky so we did an emergency diaper change right there in the seat. That, along with several other cranky babies on board, made for an interesting flight. This was a test drive for the end of the week. All and all it wasn't to bad.

It took us another hour to get to the hotel and another long while to check in. By that time we were starving so we had to go get something. Josh was a bear to put down for his nap this afternoon. It didn't help that the crib has NO padding. We padded the crib with some chair cushions and finally got him down. It was a short nap but when he got up he was all grins again. It's like he thinks we'll forget what a stinker he is if he acts all cute and stuff. :)

Our hotel, The White Swan, is easily the nicest one we have stayed with so far. It's located on somewhat of an island loaded with shops and restaurants. There are lots of Americans here and the Chinese here speak English quite well. Walking around has a bit of a feel like Gatlinburg, Tn or Nashville, In. It will be pretty comfortable staying here for eight days but we are ready to come home. There are just some things you don't realize how nice they are like being able to drink water out of the tap. It's been REALLY hard not to rinse our toothbrushes under the tap. We almost do it every time.

We'll get some pictures up next time. We promise!

M, J, & J

Friday, September 21, 2007

Quick Post

Just a quick post since it will be an early night.

We went to an old part of Chongqing today to do some shopping

The Chinese often use some sign language when they are selling goods denoting numbers. Our guide showed us these yesterday. As we were walking through this market, a guy noticed us practicing our number signs and wanted to practice counting in English. We did for a while and he read our card which says we are adopting Josh, blah blah blah. He then wanted to hold Josh. Sure. We needed to get back to the bus so we told him we had to leave, but he wanted to carry Josh back with us. We let that go for a little before I just grabbed Josh back and said "we gotta go". He was harmless, but hey, that's MY boy.

Here are some more pictures of Chongqing. The city is huge and tall buildings go on for miles. The river is the Yangtze, 4th largest in the world.

We have to meet again at 3:30 to do some more paperwork and get Josh's visa and passport. We then need to have our luggage ready for pick-up at 9:30. It's bright and early tomorrow as we leave the hotel at 5:30am for Guangzhou, our last stop. We'll be in Guangzhou for 8 more days as we wait for our appointment at the American Consulate. From everything we hear, Guangzhou is very nice and the area we stay in used to be part of an English territory so it is a little more "westerner" friendly.

On a side note, it's fun to see everyone in the group get along so well. If someone doesn't have something, like a medicine, someone else will readily donate it. We will randomly go to meals together if we happen to see others going out and leaving our doors open so others can just walk in for play dates. We're in the process of gathering each other's info so we can keep in contact after we disperse throughout the US.

We're 2 for 2 on internet access so far so we'll try to get up and running again tomorrow. Until then,

Matt, Jenny, and Josh

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Lucky You - 2 Posts Today

Today we went to E'ling Park or Goose Park. It is a very nice city park that looks down onto Chongquing. Of course, the view is very limited due to the fog/smog. We watched people play Mahjong and we had several people stop and talk to us about the babies.

This is path in the park, but cars would zoom past us. We think that they were hired driver to drop people off because Chongqing is a mountain town and many of the streets are steep.

This is the pagoda at the center of the park. We opted not to climb all the way to the top with a 22 pound melonhead strapped to my chest. Honestly, we wouldn't have been able to see much due to the smog.

This the tea house we went to and participated in the tea ceremony. It was quite interesting to witness the history of the ceremony and the tea wasn't bad either, coming from the non-tea drinker. Matt liked one of the teas so much we bought a little to take back with us.

This is Josh's favorite toy when we are out. It is the card given to us, written in Chinese, explaining that we are adopting this child and he will be going to America and that we promise to love him and always care for him. The card has come in handy several times when people stop to look at the babies.

Mom's Afternoon Out!!!
One of the gals in the group stopped at a salon on the way to the store to get her hair done for Gotcha Day so that it would be nice and told about this great head massage she got for 15 yuan. 15 yuan is 2 bucks American. So, today I went around and gathered all the interested new mom's and we went. Wow, was is great.
It was listed as a Wash and Blow which meant they wash your hair in the salon chair before wetting it under a faucet. They wet your hair with a squirt bottle and then massaged your head for a long time.

Below is the picture of them rinsing your hair and then continuing to massage your head and neck. Then they do a massage of your shoulders, arms and hands. Ecstasy! We were then led back to the salon chair and they massages your shoulder and back. Finally, the stylist was brought in to blow dry your hair. It was an hour experience and it was worth every penny of the two bucks.

Indiana, Oh Indiana, Indiana we all for you!!

It's about time that we got him supporting the only school to attend in the world.

While the moms were away, Josh and I had a good ol' time. I found a tickle spot on his neck and had him screaming with laughter. We romped around on the bed for a good hour around nap time. As much fun as we had, he reached out for Jen when she got back which was really good to see. He might just be taking a shine to us! One problem, though. The moms were gone just long enough for me and a couple other dads to change poopy diapers. BAD MOMS!

Tomorrow, we're headed to an area of the city with many historic buildings and shops.

Until tomorrow,

Matt, Jenny, and Josh